Catherine's Story: What Kind of a Future?
Catherine's mother explains how Direct Payments have helped Catherine to live a more independent life:
“After we found out about Direct Payments, we contacted a Social Worker who came to see us and carried out a Carer’s assessment first and then a needs assessment on Catherine.
“She then took our case to the panel and we were awarded a Direct Payment for six hours a week. The Social Worker gave us information about an agency that supports people with Direct Payments. We needed someone to be flexible - to work evenings and weekends as the Direct Payment was for Catherine's social needs.
“We found a 'buddy' as Catherine calls her - a young woman of a similar age and who drives. Catherine interviewed her and liked her straight away. The agency helped us with advert, the contract, wages and holiday entitlement. Catherine and her buddy have nights in where they paint their nails, watch DVDs, go on the Nintendo Wii, or just watch the soaps! They go out for meals, go bowling, go line dancing, go to the pub, go shopping and now that the weather is getting better, they have been to the park.
“The nice thing is that Catherine also now knows her buddy’s family and friends and they sometimes meet together at the pub and she's been to one of the family's party.
“The benefit for Catherine is that she has someone her own age to go out with, has made new friends, gets a break from us and can do what she wants to do - it has given her more confidence in her decision making. The benefit for us is that we have time together as a couple or if I'm at work and my husband wants to go out, there is someone for Catherine and much as we love her, it also gives us a break.”